Follow the news of Irma on DR1
President Medina following progress of Irma
Hurricane Irma to speed up
Canada airlifts tourists out
Flights cancelled due to Hurricane Irma
Irma boosts supermarket sales
US State Department warning
Formal accusations made in Super Tucano bribe case
16-year old Emely Peguro subjected to criminal abortion
Inmates transferred from Rafey jail

School, business and government take Thursday off for Irma
As Hurricane Irma moves on a WNW track as many experts had forecast, the Dominican Republic breathed in the relief that it would not be hit by catastrophic damages of a category five hurricane. As of the 11pm advisory by the US National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma was tracking at 19.4N and 66.8W with maximum sustained wind at 185 mph and moving WNW at a speedy 16 mph, considerably reducing the effects of the big storm on the country.

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President Medina following progress of Irma
President Danilo Medina and the entire country are following the latest happenings and news regarding the passing of Hurricane Irma. The storm is expected to be felt in the country in the early morning of Thursday, 7 September 2017 as it moves over from Puerto Rico.

Communications’ Director, Roberto Rodríguez Marchena, said President Danilo Medina is following Hurricane Irma from his office in the Presidential Palace where he will also be receiving updates from the emergency organizations.

Meanwhile, employees at the Presidential Palace completed preparations on Wednesday, taking down glass lamps around the perimeter of the Presidential Palace as part of the hurricane precautionary measures. Presidential Palace staff were also out collecting garbage in the surrounding streets cutting loose branches from trees.

Hurricane Irma to speed up
Gloria Ceballos, director of the National Meteorological Office, said that during the morning of Thursday, 7 September, 2017, Hurricane Irma should speed up, which is good news for the country. The faster the hurricane moves west, the least damage it will cause. Ceballos says the hurricane is likely to stay on the forecast track passing to the north coast of the country in a parallel fashion throughout the rest of the day.

Ceballos warned to be prepared for the worst as there are no guarantees which provinces in the country would not be affected by wind gusts, higher waves, and rain while Irma moves off to the west.

The government ordered preventive evacuations in vulnerable areas in Puerto Plata, Nagua, La Romana, Santiago and the Ozama River in Santo Domingo. Likewise, thousands of tourists were evacuated from the Punta Cana area, cutting short their vacations.

The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) has announced the official hurricane shelters located nationwide:

Canada airlifts tourists out
Air Transat has launched an airlift to get its travelers out of the Dominican Republic ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

The Montreal-based airline had plans to sending 10 aircraft to the country on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 – seven to Punta Cana, two to Puerto Plata and one to Samana.

Air Transat said all aircraft were expected to arrive in the Dominican Republic by Wednesday morning and that passengers should be back in Canada by afternoon or early evening.

The holiday travel airline did not say how many of its travelers would board the flights back to Canada.
Air Transat also said its scheduled flights on Thursday to Punta Cana departing from Toronto and Montreal have been cancelled.

The airline said it would contact affected customers and offer them travel at a later date, travel to another destination subject to conditions, or cancellation with a full refund excluding travel insurance costs.
Other evacuations are being carried out by West Jet and Air Canada.

The evacuations are taking place given that relocations of tourists within the Dominican Republic has been discarded because the storm is affecting the entire island.

Flights cancelled due to Hurricane Irma
Several airlines have cancelled flights on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (6-9 September 2017) due to the passing of Hurricane Irma. Flights into all of the country’s international airports are affected – Santo Domingo (SDQ), Santiago (STI), Punta Cana (PUJ), La Romana (LRM), and Samana (AZS) and Puerto Plata (POP).
Passengers should contact the airlines prior to leaving for their flights to check the current status.

Flights out of Punta Cana International Airport, nevertheless, are scheduled to resume at 10:15 am on Thursday, 7 September 2017.

Irma boosts supermarket sales
The supermarkets in Greater Santo Domingo, and those of major cities nationwide, have been flooded with customers stocking up before the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Irma is due to hit the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday, 7 September 2017, and Dominicans are preparing to bunker in on that day.
Large lines were seen at the checkouts and the car parks have been overflowing.

The most popular items sold are canned food, snacks, soda, bread and perishables.

Those buying said the reason was that they were concerned they would not be able to leave their homes at the weekend due to the forecasted rains and floods.

US State Department warning
The United States’ State Department has warned Americans to rethink any travel plans to Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, due to the forecast impact of Hurricane Irma.

The US State Department has authorized all government employees and their families to leave these three countries should they wish to.

Formal accusations made in Super Tucano bribe case
The Specialized Prosecution Unit for the Persecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA) has formally accused six people and three companies, together with their representatives of supposed participation in US$3.5 million in bribes that the company Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A. (Embraer) has admitted to having paid to facilitate the Dominican government’s purchase of eight Super Tucano aircraft in 2009 under the President Leonel Fernández administration.

The accusation was made against former Minister of the Armed Forces, retired Major General Rafael Peña Antonio; the former director of special projects of the Dominican Air Force, Colonel Carlos Piccini Núñez; businessmen Daniel Aquino Méndez and Daniel Aquino Hernández; Ysrael Abreu Rosario and Félix Del Orbe Berroa, as well as the companies Embraer, Magycorp, S.R.L., and 4D Business Group.

PEPCA noted that the investigation began in 2016 and they requested an extension to be able to complete a thorough investigation into the case as well as international cooperation with Brazil and the United States. This time extension also allowed the identification of five additional individuals and companies who have been accused: Embraer, Magycorp, 4D Business Group, Abreu Rosario y Del Orbe Berroa.

16-year old Emely Peguro subjected to criminal abortion
According to the charge sheet from the Public Prosecution Service, 20-year old Marlon Martinez is the lead suspect in the murder of 16-year old Emely Peguero. The file mentions Marlon Martínez as the lead suspect in the acts of barbarian torture against Peguero after she refused to abort their five-month old unborn child. The file does not mention the name of a physician that is supposed to have also intervened in the forceful abortion.
As stated in El Dia newspaper, Martínez tricked the girl into going to his mother’s apartment, on the pretext of going to collect some medical results. The prosecutors’ file states that once there he physically and psychological submitted her to acts of torture and barbarity to mutilate the five-month old baby.

The authorities accuse him of aggravated homicide and/or murder, while his mother, Marlin Martínez is accused of being an accessory to aggravated homicide and/or murder against Emely Peguero. Both are serving pre-trial custody in Santiago.

A report in El Dia explains that the mother, Marlin Martínez tried to erase evidence of the crime and later would ask the concierge of the building where she lived, Lorenzo Jiménez de Jesus, to let her see the surveillance videos that showed when Marlon and Emely had arrived to the apartment and when Marlon left dragging a heavy sack that presumably contained the body of Emely. Martinez reportedly returned to the apartment about half an hour later.

The prosecutors’ file (which El Dia has obtained a copy of) states that Peguero had a parentally-consented relationship with Marlon Martinez for over two years that had led to her pregnancy.

It goes on to say that on 19 August 2017, she had a positive pregnancy test, and while her boyfriend wanted her to have an abortion, she instead decided to keep the child. She then went with her mother, Adalgisa Polanco to the National Medical Center where tests with physician Anny Lissette Taveras showed the pregnancy was proceeding normally. Dr. Taveras denied having anything to do with the abortion and said she attended to the patient with her mother at her medical office, and prescribed tests for Friday, but the patient never returned. Instead, it was her fatal day.

According to the forensic report from the National Institute of Forensic Science (INACIF), Emely died from internal hemorrhaging of the uterus due to an attempted abortion and blows to the head causing a skull fracture, while she was still alive. The report goes on to say that the remains of the fetus were still inside Emely with contusions to the neck of the womb and the vaginal canal, along with a perforated uterus showing great force was used in this area.

A high level commission created by the Attorney General Jean Rodriguez continues to investigate the case to see if other persons may be implicated.

Marlin Martínez at the time was deputy director of the Passports Office based in San Francisco de Macorís. She was later removed from the position.

Inmates transferred from Rafey jail
The authorities have begun the evacuation of the inmates at Rafey jail in Santiago as a precaution due to the opening of the floodgates at the Tavera Dam due to Hurricane Irma.
The men will be taken to the El Pinito jail in La Vega and the women to Casa Blanca on the Duarte highway that links Licey with Santiago.
Meanwhile, in the community of Rafey, the residents of the neighborhood who live near the Taque del Norte River have begun to take preventive measures and those families at the highest risk are being moved.